By Matt Badcock
Paul Fairclough can’t wait to renew cross-border rivalries after announcing his England C squad to take on the newly-formed Wales C later this month.
The two will meet at Barry Town United on Tuesday, March 20 (7.30pm kick-off) – the first time Non-League’s Three Lions have taken on their Welsh counterparts since 2010 when they shared a 2-2 draw with Wales U23 at Newtown FC.
It will be the first game for Wales C, who are made up of players from the Welsh Premier League, including four from the host club.
England boss Fairclough has fond memories of games against Wales in the Four Nations Tournament and is looking forward to the challenge.
“If we go back to the days when we played games against each other in the Four Nations they were feisty, competitive occasions,” Fairclough told The NLP. “I remember the keeper Tony Roberts and how up for the game he would be even in the tunnel.
“So that goes back a long way and it’s great to have this game. They will be as equally comfortable on the surface as we will be, so it will be a really good occasion for everyone.”
Fairclough has named a 16-man squad featuring five players from the National League North.
Kidderminster Harriers’ Ryan Croasdale has established himself as a regular in the C squad, and he is joined by new faces Salford City’s Tom Walker, Spennymoor Town attacker Rob Ramshaw, Southport goal machine Jason Gilchrist and Blyth Spartans forward Dan Maguire, who saw his chances of a first cap against Slovakia earlier this season ended by injury.
There is also a return to the squad for AFC Fylde playmaker James Hardy, who set up two on his debut in Estonia in 2016.
However, there is a question mark over the availability of Boreham Wood keeper Grant Smith following yesterday’s postponement against Macclesfield.
BT Sport, who were due to show the game, still want to televise the fixture between the National League promotion rivals and may insist it is played in what was a clear week.
But Fairclough is excited to look at some new faces with games against Ireland and Estonia to come at the end of the season.
“I’ve gone for lads I wanted to see,” Fairclough said. “I’m a big fan of James Hardy, Dan Jones got injured last time and Dan Maguire has been the unluckiest lad going trying to get an England C cap.
“I like Josh Rees – he’s a midfielder who scores goals and I think Fejiri Okenabirhie has got a great future. James Montgomery is back in the frame, I’m pleased for him, and I’m a big believer in Ryan Croasdale. I think he’s a great player.
“We like the boy Tom Walker, we feel he’s got a chance and deserves an opportunity and Jason Gilchrist is scoring for fun. Rob Ramshaw is someone I liked at Gateshead, but he wasn’t playing as regularly as he is now.
“Josh Staunton impressed us at a training camp at Lilleshall, Sam Ling and Jim Kellermann deserve a chance, they’ve been with us before, and James Jones from Chester.
“Louis John has really established himself at Sutton – all in all it’s really pleasing and I’m looking forward to meeting up with the squad.”
England C squad:
James Montgomery (Gateshead)
Grant Smith (Boreham Wood)
Louis John (Sutton United)
Daniel Jones (Barrow)
James Jones (Chester)
Sam Ling (Leyton Orient)
Josh Staunton (Woking)
Ryan Croasdale (Kidderminster Harriers)
James Hardy (AFC Flylde)
Jim Kellermann (Aldershot Town)
Rob Ramshaw (Spennymoor Town)
Josh Rees (Bromley)
Tom Walker (Salford City)
Jason Gilchrist (Southport)
Dan Maguire (Blyth Spartans)
Fejiri Okenabirhie (Dagenham & Redbridge)
Wales C squad:
Ashley Morris (Bala Town)
Mike Lewis (Barry Town Utd)
Chris Hugh (Barry Town United)
Connell Rawlinson (TNS)
Kai Edwards (Connah’s Quay)
Mike Pearson (Connah’s Quay)
Naim Arsam (Cefn Druids)
Noah Edwards (Prestatyn Town)
T Craig Williams (Newtown)
Aeron Edwards (TNS)
Chris Venables (Bala Town)
Danny Gosset (Bangor City)
Guto Williams (Bangor City)
Jay Owen (Connah’s Quay)
Jordan Cotterill (Barry Town Utd)
Adam Roscrow (Cardiff Met)
Eliot Evans (Cardiff Met)
John Owen (Aberystwyth Town)
Kayne McLaggon (Barry Town Utd)
Toby Jones (Llandudno)
*This article originally featured in The @NonLeaguePaper which is available every Sunday and Monday